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Tip: Understanding Rank

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When you do a search, you can sort the results bibliographically alphabetical or by “rank”. What is Rank?

Rank refers to the search engine’s “best guess” as to the relevance of the result to the search you specified. The exact method of ranking used varies a bit depending on the search. In its most basic level, when you specify a single search term, rank looks at the density of the matches for the word in the document, and how close to the beginning of the document they appear as a measure of importance to the paper’s topic. The documents with the most matches and where the term is deemed to have the most importance, have the highest “relevance” and are ranked first (presented first).

When you specify more than one term to appear anywhere in the article, the method is similar, but the search engine looks at how many of those terms appear, and how close together they appear, how close to the beginning of the document, and can even take into account the relative rarity of the search terms and their density in the retrieved file, where infrequent terms count more heavily than common terms.

To see a simple example of this, search for the words (not the phrase, so no quotes):

unconscious communications

Look at the density of matches in each document on the first page of the hits. Then go to the last page of matched documents, and observe the density of matches within the documents.

A more complex search illustrates this nicely with a single page and only 15 matches:

counter*tr* w/25 “liv* out” w/25 enact*

There are a lot of word forms and variants of the words (due to the * wildcards) above that can match, but the proximity (w/25) clause limits the potential for matching. What’s interesting here though is how easily you can see the match density decrease as you view down the short list.

The end result of selecting order by rank is that the search engine’s best “guess” as to which articles are more relevant appear higher on the list than less relevant articles.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Berg, J. Jools, P. Keogh, T. (2011). Antipodean Object Relations: The Development of Object Relations Couple and Family Therapy in Sydney, Australia. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 1(1):136-138.

(2011). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 1(1):136-138

Letters from Colleagues Near and Far

Antipodean Object Relations: The Development of Object Relations Couple and Family Therapy in Sydney, Australia Related Papers

A Report Contributed By Jenny Berg, Penny Jools and Timothy Keogh, Ph.D.

Object relations-orientated couples and family psychotherapy was brought to Sydney by Dr Charles Enfield when he accepted the position of Head of Child Psychiatry at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in 1975. Charles had been at the Tavistock Clinic when the traditional child guidance model became challenged by Bowlby's acknowledgement of the significance of the external other (particularly the family) in a child's life. Charles had been supervised by John Bowlby and, along with John Byng-Hall, had been in a family therapy study group headed by Dr Freda Martin. At that time, both Harry Guntrip and Henry Dicks were active in the department and greatly influenced the group's thinking, as did Isca Wittenberg. The radical idea of the family as patient was one of the new directions this group explored.

With this shift in philosophy and thinking about family psychotherapy, Charles set up the Child and Family Psychiatry Department of the Children's Hospital, which continued to function as a centre of excellence for the application of object relations ideas to child and family problems for twenty years, until the mid-1990s. Through links with community health facilities, notably the Jesmond Street Child and Family Service, other groups of professionals were exposed to these ideas.

In 1997, a group of eleven clinicians, all of whom had been supervised by Charles, formed the New South Wales Institute for Family Psychotherapy (NSWIFP). Charles was the founding president and maintains an active supervision group, which provides an opportunity for some of this group to carry these ideas further into their private practices.

Also in 1997, Noela Byrne, Jenny Berg, and Penny Jools established Calliope, a private clinic that specialised in the treatment of couples and families, and gave the Institute a de facto home. The peer supervision group based at Calliope became interested in the changes they observed in couple and family functioning that occurred in longer-term work, in particular, how these processes could be thought about and described. They found Fairbairn's idea of the splitting of the ego into exciting and rejecting objects, paired with Klein's developmental account of psychic maturation (PS»D) helped them to track the psychological functioning of the family or couple.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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